Not really. With a pair of overly affectionate, attention deficit dogs, one is never really alone.
I have off this week to burn vacation, but I am still having to work on several issues at the office. Some people don't seem to understand the message "I am out of the office and will return next week". The drawback of all this technology (e-mail, remote log in, blackberries) is that people feel that you should be able to respond even if you are off. There are some people who will get pissed off if you don't respond to their messages quickly enough (what part about "being off" is hard to comprehend?).
Most of my stuff I am pushing off until next week or not responding. I am simply monitoring the conversation at the office to stay ahead of the storm. I am doing phone interviews this week for a new buyer and need to knock out several calls before I get back next week. I forgot how much I hate interviews - both giving and doing. Phone interviews are not my forte. I have about 20 minutes to ask you a bunch of questions to see what kind of person you are. It's hard to make a snap judgement based upon a brief call, but it is necessary evil to weed out candidates who will not fit the profile. I have about 12 calls to make over the next few days and I am expected to have a short list of possible people for an on site interview by Monday. I am not happy (nor is my wife) about doing this while on my time off, but I am under the gun to get this done quickly. As I remind myself and my bride, it is what we get paid the big bucks for. Management, in spite of all its glory, has certain expectations and being available/on call during off hours is one of the down sides. At least I have a job I can complain about, unlike some people, so for that I am grateful.
In between making calls and fielding the occasional e-mail, I am putting up lights and putting up the tree. I think this is the last year for our old tree and I may break down and get a new one. We haven't had a live tree for many years, and with son off in college, we are not in a hurry to change that tradition. Besides, with his allergies, a live tree would just reek havoc with his sinuses. Although, I do miss the smell of pine in the house during the holidays. On the other hand, I shudder to think what the dogs would think about a live tree in the house.
While I am off this week, I am playing the old retiree in the neighborhood. Walk the dogs late, clean up the yard, hand Christmas lights, etc. I noted the school bus roaring through the neighborhood for the various grades (high school at 0630, middle school at 0730) picking up kids for school. What disturbed me was one poor kid was trudging his way down to the bus stop yesterday morning. He was hauling a small rolling suitcase much like I take on flights for supplier audits. Does he have that much homework/books to require a rolling suitcase? Maybe he was carrying a big lunch? In my day, that would probably earn you some harrassment from your classmates, but maybe this is the norm.